Pension Help!

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Pension Help!

Postby YDNAL » Fri May 03, 2013 3:50 pm

Bogleheads,

I will give this issue much more thought and research further myself, but didn't hesitate to ask you smart guys/gals. If you can suggest reading material, I appreciate it.

I'm trying to help my only brother.
  • He is 60yo this Summer, no pension. BTW, I'm a bit older (1.3 years), also taller and better-looking. :D
  • His wife is 58yo with a defined benefit pension through her State.
  • Assume - for simplicity - no major health issues and also that they can live off of any of 3 monthly choices (below) to avoid tangenial discussions or caveats. AFAIC, this is all a longevity play - but please correct me if you think that I'm wrong.
They need help in choosing one of the following options:
1. Lumpsum of about $575K. (this seems out of the question *)
2. $3,100 per month - no beneficiary.
3. $2,900 per month - beneficiary benefits if she dies during the first 10 years, nothing thereafter.
4. $2,650 per month - beneficiary benefits for life.

What would you do? Why?


* I got this quicky-quote for SPIA from Berkshire (not that this company is comparable to her State Pension, but what the heck).
Your investment of $750,260 will yield 2.42% based upon our mortality assumptions and the U.S. Treasury yield curve as of April 30, 2013. This investment will provide you with $3,100 every month for as long as you live, beginning on July 1, 2013.
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby damjam » Fri May 03, 2013 4:15 pm

Given that women generally outlive men they might choose the no beneficiary option...
However my family's experience has been different. My in-laws set everything up assuming the wife would outlive the husband (he was 10 years older) and she predeceased him. At retirement there were no hints of health problems AFAIK.
Being the conservative type I would choose the beneficiary benefits for life.
I suppose you could go through the exercise of calculating saving the increased benefits with no beneficiary option etc and find a break even point. I leave that to those with greater mathematical abilities.
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby dbr » Fri May 03, 2013 4:28 pm

I think a simplistic but seemingly obvious approach would be to ask what situation your BIL would be in ten, fifteen, or twenty years from now, and so on, if he were to lose his wife and with her the $3100/mo. In other words it depends on the ancillary information as to what his other resources would be. Note that $450/mo. saved for ten years at 6% is about $75,000 which is good for only two or three years if saved to make up, etc., etc. The risk is greater the sooner the spouse is lost if you don't take the beneficiary benefit.

I have seen conversation about taking the no beneficiary and buying term insurance to age x to compensate and I don't know how advisable that is.
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Fri May 03, 2013 4:29 pm

Take the beneficiary option - $2,650 per month.
Brother has no pension. I hope the apple didn't fall too far from you and brother has other savings.
The best longevity play is to hold out until age 70 for Social Security.
Last edited by Grt2bOutdoors on Fri May 03, 2013 4:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Fri May 03, 2013 4:31 pm

dbr wrote:I have seen conversation about taking the no beneficiary and buying term insurance to age x to compensate and I don't know how advisable that is.


It gets prohibitively expensive after age 70 - so for first ten years you have it, then you can't afford the term life insurance. The greatest risk is between ages 70 to 85 - exactly when you would need the life insurance the most or the pension benefit.
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby Dandy » Fri May 03, 2013 4:37 pm

A lot depends on their other financial situation. But in general I would suggest the lower amount that provides the beneficiary with lifetime income not just 10 years. I agree that the lure of the lump sum is not the way to go.
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby stan1 » Fri May 03, 2013 4:38 pm

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Re: Pension Help!

Postby stan1 » Fri May 03, 2013 4:38 pm

YDNAL wrote:AFAIC, this is all a longevity play - but please correct me if you think that I'm wrong.


Only partially, there's also a risk component. You said they could get by with any of the three monthly payment options you listed, but there is a fifth option. Can your brother get by with $0 pension from the pension?

If the answer is no, even if there is a small chance of your sister in law passing away before your brother it would make sense to cover this possibility with a survivor benefit.
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby celia » Fri May 03, 2013 4:40 pm

You didn't mention if the pension has a cost of living increase built into it.

Is medical insurance taken care of until they turn 65?

Is it an option to delay starting the pension for a few years in exchange for higher monthly payouts? If so, they could live off a small part of the lump lump until then.

The best reality check, IMO, is to actually live for a year or two on only the amount of income that is expected during retirement. All other income during that time must be added to savings--not spent. That's what we did.
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby bsteiner » Fri May 03, 2013 4:54 pm

As Dandy points out, the nature and extent of their other assets might be a factor in their decision.

I didn't try to compare choices 2, 3 and 4.

It's interesting to see that, at least from the one outside quote, the state offers a better deal on the annuity than the insurance company. I've seen that happen before. It makes the annuity from the plan more attractive than it might otherwise be.

If she lives another 30 years, the annuity and the lump sum are equivalent at an approximate 5% rate of return.

If they have enough other assets to both live on and to pay the tax on the conversion, and if the lump sum can be rolled over into an IRA, there could be additional value in taking the lump sum, rolling it over into an IRA, and converting it to a Roth (perhaps spreading the conversion over a number of years to avoid bunching the income into a high bracket in one year).
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby dennygt » Fri May 03, 2013 5:30 pm

I was in a similar situation two years ago (defined pension - choose the pay-out). The DW and I decided to go with 100% survivor benefits, if I die first, she continues receiving the same amount till she dies, exactly the same as the OP's option #4. The interesting benefit was that if she died first, my pension amount reverts back to the higher amount, as if I took a no beneficiary pay-out (OP's option #2).

The OP might want to check to see if this 'benefit' applies to this situation, too.

Good luck!
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby SteveNet » Fri May 03, 2013 5:59 pm

celia wrote:You didn't mention if the pension has a cost of living increase built into it.

Is medical insurance taken care of until they turn 65?

Is it an option to delay starting the pension for a few years in exchange for higher monthly payouts? If so, they could live off a small part of the lump lump until then.

The best reality check, IMO, is to actually live for a year or two on only the amount of income that is expected during retirement. All other income during that time must be added to savings--not spent. That's what we did.


EDIT...OOPS I hit the wrong button by mistake...

I was in a similar situation 9 yrs ago (although no lump sum offered) To either have a reduced pension with survivor benefits, or no survivor benefits and a larger pension.
I was leaning towards the larger pension and no survivor benefits and use a portion of the larger pension to purchase a nice term life policy to more than make up for no survivor pension...
Till I found out that My medical benefits were tied to the Pension.
So If I passed even with a life ins policy in lieu of Pension, my Spouse would get NO medical benefits at that point forwards.
I took the reduced Pension. Make sure either lump sum or no survivor still has medical benefits or not prior to a decision.
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby dennygt » Fri May 03, 2013 6:13 pm

OOPS. I also forgot about pension benefits and insurance tied together. If I died first and DW got no benefits (sole survivor), she'd have no insurance. No brainer, we went with the 100% survivor benefit (see earlier post). If she dies first, my pension reverts to the sole survivor amount.
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby Peter Foley » Fri May 03, 2013 6:27 pm

My wife and I went through this about a year ago. While my pension options were slightly different, I did have both a withdrawal and a 10 year certain option. I chose the 50% option (If I die first she gets 50% of mine). It had about the same monthly reduction as the 10 year certain option. Our choice was based on the fact that my wife did not have a pension but had significant 401k and 403b savings.

If your brother could live without the pension (in part because he would delay SS until age 70), that is an option to consider.
Keep in mind that the 2 different pension amounts with a beneficiary option are not so great as to make a significant difference in their lifestyle if they have other savings. That would argue for the safest route, and would be the option I would choose.
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby Sbashore » Fri May 03, 2013 6:37 pm

If it were me I'd take the 2650 assuming the survivor benefit is 100% (2650). I made a similar decision years ago, where the difference in benefit was much greater between a no survivor benefit and an unlimited survivor benefit. It happened that I am the survivor, so am glad in retrospect that we made the decision we did. My first impression is that getting a lifetime benefit of 2650 a month for two lifetimes for 450 per month is a good deal.
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby g$$ » Fri May 03, 2013 7:52 pm

I would be surprised if the lump sum is a better deal
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby peppers » Fri May 03, 2013 8:03 pm

Have you checked the state's pension funding level?
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby YDNAL » Sat May 04, 2013 7:18 am

.
Bogleheads,

I have an update that may shed some more light and answer some questions.
    1. My SIL has a Deferred Retirement Option Plan for up to 5 years. Meaning that, upon election to retire after 30 years of service, monthly benefits thereafter are deposited in an interest-bearing account for the period of extended employment. So, if she chose option #2, then $3,100 monthly for up to 5 years = $186,000 principal (before growth) goes into this account. It then can rollover to an IRA. All benefits have COLA.
    2. Neither my brother nor SIL were highly compensated employees so they have modest savings. My estimate is less than $500K; and I don't want to touch on this further unless it comes from my brother. They own a modest house, middle-income standard of living and transportation (no Mercedes or BMWs), etc. Plan to relocate to lower cost of living area.
    3. He has health insurance through former employer (Dow component) - he works part time. SIL can remain with State group health plan - reasonable cost.
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby John Z » Sat May 04, 2013 9:22 am

They need help in choosing one of the following options:
1. Lumpsum of about $575K. (this seems out of the question *)
2. $3,100 per month - no beneficiary.
3. $2,900 per month - beneficiary benefits if she dies during the first 10 years, nothing thereafter.
4. $2,650 per month - beneficiary benefits for life.
What would you do? Why?


Hello,
My wife and I retired last July and she had a pension coming. We looked at all the options and although the annuity was more generous than what we could find online anywhere (for comparison purposes), when we added all the pluses and minuses, we took the lump sum. Why?

With an annuity, you cannot control your income as it relates to being taxed on SS benefits. With a pension constantly providing income, you could most likely have some/all of your SS taxed; it would have happened in our case. By taking the lump sum and investing it in Wellesley Admiral, we have the option to withdraw any amount or let it ride to grow and compound and collect dividends. Because of this, we have planned and estimated that we will pay no income tax (nor will any SS be taxed) for the next 4 years (until RMD) while converting some IRA funds into ROTH again avoiding the trigger that would cause any federal taxation. So see if you can determine for your brother a method to avoid taxes on SS.

The second reason we took the lump sum is to have it in our account for any reason or need that would require a large amount of money, and, finally, for our heirs if we don't make it to the ripe age of ~90.

Hope this helps,
John
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby dickenjb » Sat May 04, 2013 10:09 am

If they are of modest means I would go with option 4 to lay off the longevity risk.

There is a lot to be said for the peace of mind that this approach brings to the table.
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby rickmerrill » Sat May 04, 2013 10:55 am

I asked a similar question several weeks ago. Our situation was different because she is several years younger, non-COLA, good savings and both will get similar SS. Because they can live off of the lower payment I think the safest decision is to take the 100%. It may not end up being optimal but there is just no way they can know what optimal will be. Using mortality tables and averages works great for insurance actuaries who set up plans but individuals have to create their plans based on a population sample of two.

I think it would be a smart decision for you brother to delay SS if they can swing it - assuming WEP/GPO won't affect her ability to collect survivor benefits (I have no idea what I'm talking about on this).
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby Sbashore » Sat May 04, 2013 12:26 pm

dickenjb wrote:If they are of modest means I would go with option 4 to lay off the longevity risk.

There is a lot to be said for the peace of mind that this approach brings to the table.


I agree, as I said in a previous post. The fact that it's cola'd makes option 4 even more desirable in my opinion. That's a lot of peace of mind for the price.
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby YDNAL » Mon May 06, 2013 7:20 am

rickmerrill wrote:I asked a similar question several weeks ago. Our situation was different because she is several years younger, non-COLA, good savings and both will get similar SS. Because they can live off of the lower payment I think the safest decision is to take the 100%.

Thanks for the heads up - I don't frequent the Not-Investing sub Forum that often.
Link: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=113563&hilit=pension&start=50

You are right, the situation is not the same since both of you have Pensions and she's significantly younger relative to my brother & SIL. I'm posting to link that conversation for others that may be interested and provide a sneaky bump. :)
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby Bustoff » Mon May 06, 2013 8:10 am

Take the 575K lump sum.

Immediately invest all 575K into a simple 3-fund portfolio:

Vanguard Total Stock Market Index
Vanguard Total Bond Index
Vanguard Total International

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Re: Pension Help!

Postby Frugal Al » Mon May 06, 2013 9:17 am

Sbashore wrote: The fact that it's cola'd makes option 4 even more desirable in my opinion.

+1
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby johnep » Mon May 06, 2013 9:24 am

John Z wrote:They need help in choosing one of the following options:
1. Lumpsum of about $575K. (this seems out of the question *)
2. $3,100 per month - no beneficiary.
3. $2,900 per month - beneficiary benefits if she dies during the first 10 years, nothing thereafter.
4. $2,650 per month - beneficiary benefits for life.
What would you do? Why?


Hello,
My wife and I retired last July and she had a pension coming. We looked at all the options and although the annuity was more generous than what we could find online anywhere (for comparison purposes), when we added all the pluses and minuses, we took the lump sum. Why?

With an annuity, you cannot control your income as it relates to being taxed on SS benefits. With a pension constantly providing income, you could most likely have some/all of your SS taxed; it would have happened in our case. By taking the lump sum and investing it in Wellesley Admiral, we have the option to withdraw any amount or let it ride to grow and compound and collect dividends. Because of this, we have planned and estimated that we will pay no income tax (nor will any SS be taxed) for the next 4 years (until RMD) while converting some IRA funds into ROTH again avoiding the trigger that would cause any federal taxation. So see if you can determine for your brother a method to avoid taxes on SS.

The second reason we took the lump sum is to have it in our account for any reason or need that would require a large amount of money, and, finally, for our heirs if we don't make it to the ripe age of ~90.

Hope this helps,
John


I agree with lump sum, especially if this is a non COLA annuity. Investing the lump sum even in moderate AA should have good change of producing comparable income to annuities while preserving principle. Inflation, even at current low levels, would dramatically reduce the spending power of this annuity over 10 to 20 years.
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby YDNAL » Mon May 06, 2013 10:53 am

johnep wrote:I agree with lump sum, especially if this is a non COLA annuity. Investing the lump sum even in moderate AA should have good change of producing comparable income to annuities while preserving principle. Inflation, even at current low levels, would dramatically reduce the spending power of this annuity over 10 to 20 years.

To avoid misunderstanding or assumption, the pension has COLA, the 5-year DROP option also has COLA.

I talked some more with my brother over the weekend and thought about this more myself. So given their modest savings outside this pension, I'm finding that option 4 (joint survivor) at 86% looks near a NO brainer as a reasonable cost, conservative alternative.
YDNAL wrote:2. $3,100 (100%) per month - no beneficiary.
3. $2,900 (93.4%) per month - beneficiary benefits if she dies during the first 10 years, nothing thereafter.
4. $2,650 (85.5%) per month - beneficiary benefits for life.

To dot all I's and cross all T's, I've asked him to price a 20-year (she will be 78yo, he almost 81yo), $750K* term insurance life insure for my SIL.

Please keep the input coming.

* this would be equivalent to additional savings that provide $30,000 annually at 4% withdrawal.
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby archbish99 » Mon May 06, 2013 10:55 am

YDNAL wrote:I have an update that may shed some more light and answer some questions.
...
All benefits have COLA.


I agree with lump sum, especially if this is a non COLA annuity. Investing the lump sum even in moderate AA should have good change of producing comparable income to annuities while preserving principle. Inflation, even at current low levels, would dramatically reduce the spending power of this annuity over 10 to 20 years.


But this isn't a non-COLA annuity, which makes the annuitization option more appealing. If they have assets they'd like to convert to Roth, that DROP option is very interesting, too.
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby MN Finance » Mon May 06, 2013 10:56 am

Bustoff wrote:Take the 575K lump sum.

Immediately invest all 575K into a simple 3-fund portfolio:

Vanguard Total Stock Market Index
Vanguard Total Bond Index
Vanguard Total International

:moneybag


The effective payout of the pension is 6.5% which may be a wash for someone in their late 60s but it's not a wash for someone who is 60, especially with a COLA. I don't see how anyone would make this choice unless life expectancy was known to be short.

John Z wrote:Hello,
My wife and I retired last July and she had a pension coming. We looked at all the options and although the annuity was more generous than what we could find online anywhere (for comparison purposes), when we added all the pluses and minuses, we took the lump sum. Why?

With an annuity, you cannot control your income as it relates to being taxed on SS benefits. With a pension constantly providing income, you could most likely have some/all of your SS taxed; it would have happened in our case. By taking the lump sum and investing it in Wellesley Admiral, we have the option to withdraw any amount or let it ride to grow and compound and collect dividends. Because of this, we have planned and estimated that we will pay no income tax (nor will any SS be taxed) for the next 4 years (until RMD) while converting some IRA funds into ROTH again avoiding the trigger that would cause any federal taxation. So see if you can determine for your brother a method to avoid taxes on SS.

The second reason we took the lump sum is to have it in our account for any reason or need that would require a large amount of money, and, finally, for our heirs if we don't make it to the ripe age of ~90.

Hope this helps,
John


If there are tax considerations, like $10,000 in lifetime tax savings, then that would just be added to the break even calculation. That may or may not be enough to tip the scale to one choice or the other. Someone with other investments also wouldn't place a premium on control of the assets for a lump sum.

johnep wrote:I agree with lump sum, especially if this is a non COLA annuity. Investing the lump sum even in moderate AA should have good change of producing comparable income to annuities while preserving principle. Inflation, even at current low levels, would dramatically reduce the spending power of this annuity over 10 to 20 years.


Investing in a moderate allocation and potentially producing similar income is a far fetched conclusion (6.5% inflation adjusted w/d rate??) It's also a hugely different risk calculation.

What is also absent in the discussion about the lump sum is the transfer or risk, the primary benefit of a pension. Should the market do poorly or longevity risk appear, that risk transfer to the retiree is no small matter.
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby #Cruncher » Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:29 pm

YDNAL wrote:
  1. Lumpsum of about $575K. (this seems out of the question ...)
  2. $3,100 per month - no beneficiary.
  3. $2,900 per month - beneficiary benefits if she dies during the first 10 years, nothing thereafter.
  4. $2,650 per month - beneficiary benefits for life.
You can calculate the present value of the monthly benefits from 2, 3, or 4 with two assumptions: a) discount rate and b) number of years the benefit will continue. Since the benefits are increased along with the Consumer Price Index, I would use a real discount rate and consider the monthly benefit to be in 2013 dollars. The current yield on 30-year TIPS would seem reasonable. According to this SSA Actuarial Life Table a female aged 58 has a life expectancy of 26 years.

Plugging these figures into Excel along with the present value formulas produces a present value of about $800,000 for option # 2. I've included the formulas in case you want to run this yourself in Excel with different assumptions in cells A1 - A3.
Code: Select all
  Row
   1    1.500%    Annual discount rate   
   2    3,100     Monthly payout   
   3     26.0     # of years   
   4    0.125%    Monthly discount rate             = A1 / 12
   5      312     # of months                       = A3 * 12
   6   0.6772     Present value of $1               = 1 / ( 1 + A4 ) ^ A5
   7    258.2     Present value of annuity of $1    = ( 1 - A6 ) / A4
   8  800,490     Present value                     = A2 * A7

I don't know how to estimate the probable number of years for options 3 or 4. But following are the results using guesses of 27 and 29 years:
Code: Select all
$800,000 Option # 2 - $3,100 / month for 26 years
$772,000 Option # 3 - $2,900 / month for 27 years
$747,000 Option # 4 - $2,650 / month for 29 years
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby YDNAL » Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:13 am

#Cruncher wrote:Plugging these figures into Excel along with the present value formulas produces a present value of about $800,000 for option # 2....

I don't know how to estimate the probable number of years for options 3 or 4. But following are the results using guesses of 27 and 29 years:

I've struggle with longevity issues myself.
  • If SIL dies year 10.5, for instance, option 3 would be a poor choice.
  • Since brother is 60, with 5-years lower life expectancy (21 vs. 26), option 4 is only valuable if he outlives her (low probability, me thinks).
They are inclined to go with option 2 plus TERM life insurance for healthy, 58yo female, for fixed 25-year term that my SIL has been quoted at around $270 monthly. This is 60% of the cost of lower benefits - option 2 ($3,100) and 4 ($2,650), and less than 60% after CPI adjustments to the benefits, over time.

Thank you very much for your post and *crunching* numbers. :beer
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby Frugal Al » Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:44 am

YDNAL wrote:They are inclined to go with option 2 plus TERM life insurance for healthy, 58yo female, for fixed 25-year term that my SIL has been quoted at around $270 monthly

The present value of the term insurance payments over 25 years @ 3% discount rate would be about $57,000, making option 2 about the same price as going with option 4, but there is still longevity risk.
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby YDNAL » Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:28 am

Frugal Al wrote:
YDNAL wrote:They are inclined to go with option 2 plus TERM life insurance for healthy, 58yo female, for fixed 25-year term that my SIL has been quoted at around $270 monthly

The present value of the term insurance payments over 25 years @ 3% discount rate would be about $57,000, making option 2 about the same price as going with option 4, but there is still longevity risk.

Yes.

I didn't discount the payment, keeping it simple for them was my first priority, and instead showed them cash flow:
    a) $270 x 300 months = $81,000
    b) $3,100 - $2,650 = $450 x 180 months = $81,000
    c) They get this means paying the policy in full with only 15 years' worth of increased pension benefits before COLA.
That said, brother being 60yo - life expectancy of 21 years per link - means SIL may not need to pay the policy through term. She could, however, keep the policy for estate planning reasons in case she falls short of 26-year longevity projection. This stuff ain't a slam dunk.

Thanks for your input.
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby Frugal Al » Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:48 am

There's no easy answer. General population life expectancy tables can be dangerous things--remember, half die, and half live. Many couples automatically assume the female will outlive a similar aged and health male, but not always. As we know, gaming insurance is usually a losing proposition. That being the case, if your SIL passes 26 years hence, after the insurance lapses, when your brother is 86, I hope he has other resources.

Of course this is a classic problem of early annuitization. Age 60 is a bit early to determine how one's longevity compares to that of one's cohorts.
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby YDNAL » Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:53 am

Frugal Al wrote:There's no easy answer. General population life expectancy tables can be dangerous things--remember, half die, and half live. Many couples automatically assume the female will outlive a similar aged and health male, but not always. As we know, gaming insurance is usually a losing proposition. That being the case, if your SIL passes 26 years hence, after the insurance lapses, when your brother is 86, I hope he has other resources.

Of course this is a classic problem of early annuitization. Age 60 is a bit early to determine how one's longevity compares to that of one's cohorts.

Absolutely correct. He has OK savings (not a Boglehead :) ) and smaller pension from DB plan of an old S&P 500 company.
Landy | Be yourself, everyone else is already taken -- Oscar Wilde
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby rallenal » Thu Oct 31, 2013 1:56 pm

You should not assume that the state pension numbers are risk free. Colorado, Oregon and Rhode Island have retroactively cut pension payouts for the already retired. Litigation is underway but not decided yet. Other states are in deep trouble but have not cut benefits to date. States (under current law) can't declare bankruptcy but that could change. City of Detroit retirees are expecting 14c on the dollar. Somebody above suggested checking the funding ratio of the state plan. I echo that. Also check the earnings assumption that they use. This number dramatically affects the funding ratio. Though most people here would probably disagree, large institutional investors should be able to get a better return than the individual if only because they can use an infinite time horizon. Though not much if you follow other advice above and use a mix of index funds. Also these state actors are under political pressure to make suboptimal investment decisions like investing in local public and private entities and divestment campaigns.
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Re: Pension Help!

Postby jimkinny » Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:17 pm

I would let them make up their own minds, assuming that the state pension fund is safe. This seems more of a psychological issue. There is no right answer, just point out the risks, let them decide.

For no other reason than I am by nature conservative, if it was me, I would take the pension with survivor benefits. One never knows what the future holds and a state pension with survivor benefits might be helpful in 10 years.

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